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RE: [beemonitoring] Wanted, estimates of costs for identifying bee specimens

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  • Neil Stanley Cobb
    Sam, We do not have a taxonomist, so we do not charge for individual identifications; we work collaboratively with others to get confirmation or consensus on
    Message 1 of 7 , Jan 11, 2010
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      Sam,

       

      We do not have a taxonomist, so we do not charge for individual identifications; we work collaboratively with others to get confirmation or consensus on identifications.  Bees are about as bad as any group for getting species-level confirmations, at least in the Southwest.  There are not that many people that can do identifications and they are all very busy.  Spiders, ants, most beetles, even macro moths are easier for us to get identifications.  Most of the time we do not pay for identifications, we make it as easy as possible for people to provide determinations.  Where possible we write in taxonomic services into monitoring or inventory contracts, but it is usually for a few thousand at most.

       

      I would ask people who teach the bee course how much they would charge.  Taxonomists rarely receive anything close to full compensation and many will accept whatever payment we can provide.  If you collect in areas they are interested and you have specimens in groups they are working on, they typically are happy to help in exchange for the specimens you provide them.

       

      Hope this helps.

       

      Neil

       

      Neil S. Cobb, Director
      Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research
      Peterson Hall, Bldg 22, Rm 330, Box 6077
      Northern Arizona University Flagstaff , AZ 86011
      http://www.mpcer.nau.edu http://bugs.nau.edu http://www.grail.nau.edu/

       

      Neil.Cobb@...
      (Home Office) 928-214-6237
      (Mobile Office) 928-607-4075


      From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com [mailto:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Sam Droege
      Sent: Monday, January 11, 2010 5:04 AM
      To: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: [beemonitoring] Wanted, estimates of costs for identifying bee specimens

       




      Hi Neil:

      Thanks for the information and offers of help, hopefully we will be needing both.

      I was thinking less about morpho species and more about species level (where possible).   Do you ever contract for ID on a per species or per individual specimen basis?

      Again, thanks for the information.

      sam


      Sam Droege  sdroege@...                      
      w 301-497-5840 h 301-390-7759 fax 301-497-5624
      USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
      BARC-EAST, BLDG 308, RM 124 10300 Balt. Ave., Beltsville , MD   20705
      Http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov

      Nothing is so beautiful as Spring--
      When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and
       lovely and lush;
      Thrush's eggs look like little low heavens, and
       thrush
      Through the echoing timber does so rinse and
       wring
      The ear, it strikes like lightning to hear him
       sing;
      The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they
       brush
      The descending blue; that blue is all in a
       rush
      With richness; the racing lambs too have fair
       their fling.  
        --Garard Manley Hopkins, 1877--called "Spring."
      P Bees are not optional.

      From:

      Neil Stanley Cobb <neil.cobb@...>

      To:

      Sam Droege <sdroege@...>, "beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com" <beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com>

      Date:

      01/10/2010 04:12 PM

      Subject:

      RE: [beemonitoring] Wanted, estimates of costs for identifying bee specimens

      Sent by:

      beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com

       





       

      Sam,

       

      There are so many ways to contract and it could be fundamentally different if you want morphospecies versus a species determination.  Typically students or techs that can do a good job of establishing a morphospecies collection for us get between $10 - $16 per hour.  If you mean how do you do it administratively, it could be done as a separate contract or subcontract to a museum or lab.  You can also hire individuals directly but that would not usually be my first choice. I would be happy to coordinate any efforts for the Colorado Plateau and adjacent regions.

       

      Neil

       

      Neil S. Cobb, Director
      Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research
      Peterson Hall, Bldg 22, Rm 330, Box 6077
      Northern Arizona University Flagstaff , AZ 86011

      http://www.mpcer.nau.edu http://bugs.nau.edu http://www.grail.nau.edu/

       

      Neil.Cobb@...
      (Home Office) 928-214-6237
      (Mobile Office) 928-607-4075


      From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com [mailto:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Sam Droege
      Sent:
      Sunday, January 10, 2010 8:08 AM
      To:
      beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
      Subject:
      [beemonitoring] Wanted, estimates of costs for identifying bee specimens

       





      All:


      We are putting together some proposals with a variety of Department of Interior agencies (and potentially others) to do a set of large scale surveys of the U.S.  As part of that we will be looking for individuals and groups who would want to either partner or contract for the identification of western species (or morpho species as the case may be).  In order to do that we need to estimate what the costs would be.  


      So, I would be interested in any experiences you have had either as a contractor or as a contractee from any part of the world where someone was paid for doing bee identifications and how that contract or relationship was established.  


      You can post to me privately, but I think it would be useful to post to the group as I know this topic comes up frequently, but isn't discussed very much.


      Many thanks.


      sam


                                                   
      Sam Droege  sdroege@...                      
      w 301-497-5840 h 301-390-7759 fax 301-497-5624
      USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
      BARC-EAST, BLDG 308, RM 124 10300 Balt. Ave., Beltsville , MD   20705

      Http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov

      Further in Summer than the Birds
      Pathetic from the Grass
      A minor Nation celebrates
      Its unobtrusive Mass.


      No Ordinance be seen
      So gradual the Grace
      A pensive Custom it becomes
      Enlarging Loneliness.


      Antiquest felt at Noon
      When August burning low
      Arise this spectral Canticle
      Repose to typify


      Remit as yet no Grace
      No Furrow on the Glow
      Yet a Druidic Difference
      Enhances Nature now


                      -- Emily Dickinson

       


    • Doug Yanega
      Sam - while in the past, I would do bee IDs for people routinely without fee, there was always a problem when the amount of material exceeded a dozen or so
      Message 2 of 7 , Jan 11, 2010
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        Sam - while in the past, I would do bee IDs for people routinely
        without fee, there was always a problem when the amount of material
        exceeded a dozen or so specimens and started to become a "time sink".
        In some cases, it was negotiated that my time could be justified if
        we were being allowed to retain a significant amount of the material,
        but even that won't work under the present economic climate; recently
        (within the last year) our administration has implemented a for-fee
        ID policy, so we now charge $75 per hour for academic/commercial
        identifications. This is the rate calculated to recover my
        salary/benefit costs per hour, plus the administrative costs
        associated with processing the associated paperwork, which (I am
        told) come to almost exactly half that rate (~$35/hour), so roughly
        50% is "profit" - though this is redirected into the museum's budget
        (and there helps to offset the budget cutbacks from the last two
        years).

        Compared to doing work for free, $75 an hour is a major change, but
        we (and no doubt others associated with university-based collections)
        are under increasing pressure to "justify" the meager support we
        receive, and evidently if we can demonstrate some measure of revenue
        generation (i.e., self-sufficiency), this makes it easier for the
        administrators to feel magnanimous about keeping our collective heads
        off the chopping block. It would be nice if we could be TRULY
        self-sufficient, and divorce ourselves from the university's
        financial troubles and the proverbial dangling Damoclean Sword, but I
        honestly can't imagine how that could ever come to pass.

        Ours is certainly one of the major western bee collections,
        comprising around 100K specimens collected and identified by
        Timberlake (and others), and I'd say I'm one of only a handful of
        folks who can give reliable species-level IDs on western bees (and
        I'm by no means the best - that would be Terry Griswold), but it's no
        longer an easy resource to tap into, I'm afraid.

        Peace,
        --

        Doug Yanega Dept. of Entomology Entomology Research Museum
        Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314 skype: dyanega
        phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
        http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
        "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
      • karen@sevilleta.unm.edu
        This is in response to Neil s suggestion of using student help for species level identifications. I think that using graduate student s expertise is a good way
        Message 3 of 7 , Jan 11, 2010
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          This is in response to Neil's suggestion of using student help for species
          level identifications.

          I think that using graduate student's expertise is a good way to weed out
          all the easier identifications and could cut costs quite a bit. Us PhD
          students are usually willing to do work for things such as travel expenses
          or books, or a much more meager hourly wage. HOWEVER, both the student
          AND an expert must agree on which groups the student is capable of
          identifying to the species level with a reasonable degree of error. This
          of course just depends upon the individual student and how much oversight
          that student has and what type of reference collection the student has to
          work from.

          The value of the 'expert' cannot be underestimated. Students like myself
          would most likely fail to recognize new species in even the easiest groups
          unless it was a group that I was particularly interested.

          Cheers, Karen
        • Stuart Roberts
          Hi Sam ID to species level is a massive problem for pollination studies - in fact it is the single most important rate limiting step in such studies. Competent
          Message 4 of 7 , Jan 12, 2010
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            Hi Sam

            ID to species level is a massive problem for pollination studies - in fact it is the single most important rate limiting step in such studies. Competent identifiers are a rare resource - and this is at the UK level. In the farthest flung corners of Europe (often the most bio-diverse) the situation is far far worse.

            In our projects in UK we tend to budget for id's as part of my basic costs (determined on a time basis by my University). I know there will be some things I find difficult and we contract out determinations at somewhere around £1.30 per specimen. This cost is regardless of whether it is an easy or a difficult species to determine - it all comes out in the wash at the end. The deal is: University must provide properly prepared and fully labelled specimens. In return they get an identification to species level and the data entered into a database (provided by the University. In addition there will be a 10% sample that is rechecked to ensure QA. The Uni technician HAS to do the basic donkey-work so that identifiers do not waste their time relaxing/preparing/pinning specimens.

            At a continental level, we have to put more money aside because there is not likely to be in-house expertise. Basic training of technicians can teach them how to id just a handful of species. Our French colleagues were taught 4 species and these accounted for about 75% of all the specimens requiring determination. The rest were sent to specialists. On average charging between 1 Euro -2 Euros per specimen (depending on who you went to). For complete peace of mind, it would still be wise to do a QA check on the ones removed in the first round of filtering.


            Relying purely on the goodwill of specialists is not a great idea, especially if there are a lot of specimens to determine. People identifying things this way are very difficult to press for answers and to get to work to deadlines. We work on the principle that one should NEVER presume on the goodwill, time or expertise of amateurs. If you HAVE to get determinations, you'd be better organising a contract

            I hope this is of some help to you

            Best wishes for the New Year

            Stuart

            --------------------------
            Stuart Roberts
            Chairman, BWARS
            tel: +44 (0)1722 320072

            www.bwars.com

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